Team of the Week: Round 14
1. Chris Sandow (Eels)
What?! Questions may be asked over our sobriety but Brad Arthur's choice to move Sandow to fullback when teammate Ken Sio was ruled out on Sunday afternoon proved to be an absolute masterstroke. The usual halfback made four tackle breaks, two line breaks and 119 metres in a starring role in Parramatta's win over the Bulldogs.
2. Josh Mansour (Panthers)
Mansour is quickly cementing himself as one of the best wingers in the competition and it showed again against the Dragons on Friday. Mansour broke an exceptional seven tackles before scoring his 10th try of the year. The Penrith winger casually made a cool 225 metres as well.
3. Kyle Turner (Rabbitohs)
Turner's utility value has doubled in recent weeks following his move to the centres against the Tigers on Friday night. As stop-gap a solution it may have been, but Turner produced two tries, two line breaks and two tackle breaks in another good outing for the 22-year-old who is keeping Queensland representative Chris McQueen on the bench for Souths when named in the back row.
4. Ryan Morgan (Eels)
One of the Eels' best last year, Parramatta fans were treated to what they're missing out on with Morgan playing in the NSW Cup this season. The centre smashed out two tries, a line break, three tackle breaks and 110 metres. It's just a shame he'll be back playing for Wentworthville next weekend, pending injury.
5. Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs)
In doubt up until the whistle blew with an apparent quad strain, Johnston scored his seventh try in five games with a cheeky double before setting one up himself. His two line breaks, one line break assist and four tackle breaks also confirmed why he is keeping Nathan Merritt out of the NRL.
6. John Sutton (Rabbitohs)
Nothing exceptional came from Sutton's game this round though his constantly solid form is a testament to his berth in the NRL's best following this weekend. The five-eighth produced a sneaky 18 tackles, a try assist, a line break assist and a tackle break for good measure.
7. Mitchell Pearce (Roosters)
Missing out on Origin selection can do one of two things to your form: make you, or break you. For Pearce, it has proven to be the catalyst of the halfback's strong form in recent weeks. Pearce smashed out three try assists and two line break assists in his team's 17-point win over the Knights.
8. James Graham (Bulldogs)
With Sam Perrett and David Klemmer succumbing to injury during the outing against the Eels and Aiden Tolman already missing with a hamstring, Graham stood tall for Canterbury in a time of need. The British Bulldog smashed out a competition-high 29 runs, 232 metres and 36 tackles further establishing himself as the competition's premiere prop.
9. Jake Friend (Roosters)
From 18th man to completely overlooked for the Maroons squad, Friend responded in the only way he knows how... by tackling! The tough-as-nails hooker made 37 ball-runners pay before scoring a try, making a line break and breaking three tackle breaks –making sure the Queensland selectors know what they're missing in the meantime.
10. Jesse Bromwich (Storm)
The Storm prop lifted when it mattered. With Melbourne missing their big three and Ryan Hoffman, Bromwich was awarded Man of the Match honours after producing an outstanding 184 metres, 30 tackles and a try assist for good measure.
11. Pauli Pauli (Eels)
Smashing the Bulldogs from the bench, double trouble surrounded the Eels forward on Sunday afternoon and we're not just talking about his name. With two try assists and two line breaks to his name, Pauli proved that he is has the ball-playing capabilities to match the grunt in his game. Pauli was able to produce 73 metres, three tackle breaks and 26 tackles when he wasn't replicating a halfback.
12. Tohu Harris (Storm)
Is he a five-eighth or a bullocking forward? Harris left no-one wondering where he prefers to play on Monday after smashing out 38 tackles and 188 metres – the highest amount of metres run by any individual on Monday.
13. Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs)
With it emerging after the game that he almost didn't make it out onto ANZ Stadium after suffering back spasms in the warm-up, Burgess somehow gritted his teeth to get through 26 tackles, a try assist, one line break assist, six tackle breaks and 199 metres. We're tired just explaining it; we can't imagine how he was feeling.
14. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters)
Tuivasa-Sheck is making sure his opposite winger Daniel Tupou doesn't receive all the plaudits. Before getting himself concussed from a bone-rattling tackle, Tuivasa-Sheck put another two tries away, broke away for a line break and five tackle breaks while running 133 metres.
15. Jake Mamo (Knights)
The Roosters just wouldn't leave him alone on Saturday night but it was a testament to the 20-year-old rookie the Mamo stood up when it mattered to put in his best performance of his young career. Mamo scored his first NRL try before breaking six tackles and running 168 metres in a rare bright spot for the Knights.
16. Luke Bailey (Titans)
With senior forwards Greg Bird and Nate Myles missing for the Titans, Bailey turned back the clock with his brilliant performance on Monday night. The wit of Bailey saw Storm's Joel Romelo sent to the sin-bin before punching out 154 metres and 33 tackles.
17. Sam Moa (Roosters)
Moa was absolutely outstanding for the Roosters on Saturday night after well and truly outshining his Knights opponents. An unlikely Moa produced a line-break assist before getting busy with his usual workload, running 165 metres and making 22 tackles.